Open Innovation Process – Sources of Innovation

With the Open Innovation Approach companies can get a completely new view of their product. By the addition of external voices with the idea identification, the result can fail multilayered and problem-oriented.

The customer knowledge, and/or the information of the external sources of innovation, supplements thereby already existing in the enterprise and provides with the implementing companies to a market advantage. All in all, different sources can be defined.


Internal Sources for Open Innovation Processes

The best sources for new ideas often lie directly in your own company. But in the open innovation process, you have to look beyond the boundaries of the individual departments. Innovation management will not be crowned with success if everyone only does what they always do. The well-mixed team, also beyond the R&D departments at Open Innovation, is promising.

The innovation team must act across departments and represent an interface to all areas of the company. In my experience, many companies have a lot of potential that has to be discovered first. However, to find and optimally manage these potentials, a good innovation manager is needed.


External Sources for Open Innovation Processes

The central approach of the Open Innovation process, is to look beyond your own company. It is therefore helpful to integrate one’s own stakeholders into the innovation processes at an early stage. The active involvement of external thinkers, such as customers, suppliers or experts, must become an integral part of the corporate culture.

Another common method of integrating external sources into the innovation process is innovation competitions or hackathons. This is where inventors, experts or start-ups come in to work on a fixed problem and solve it. In this way, companies often achieve extremely good innovation results, since the bundled know-how provides a strong dynamic in the idea generation.

The last method for information from external sources is scouting or benchmarking, in which selected employees look at the market and analyse and assess certain developments, inventions and competitors.


Despite all efforts, the real challenge in the Open Innovation process is the subsequent combination of ideas in the company. Often there is resistance among employees who reject external ideas. The “Not invented here” phenomenon is the most common problem in the innovation process.

Alexander Pinker
Alexander Pinker
Alexander Pinker is an innovation profiler, future strategist and media expert who helps companies understand the opportunities behind technologies such as artificial intelligence for the next five to ten years. He is the founder of the consulting firm "Alexander Pinker - Innovation Profiling", the innovation marketing agency "innovate! communication" and the news platform "Medialist Innovation". He is also the author of three books and a lecturer at the Technical University of Würzburg-Schweinfurt.

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